In Blue room we looked at our clothes and noticed they were all different colours. The children had many ideas about where the colours came from: “They are painted” “The colours are stuck on with glue” “They come from a factory”. We talked about dyeing cloth and learnt that some colours come from plants. We went into the garden and cut some young Willow branches and peeled the bark off, cut the bark into small pieces and covered with water. We also cut some Birch branches and took off all the leaves, put them in a different pot and covered with water. We soaked them overnight and then boiled them for two hours the next day. We noticed that some of the Willow sticks we had peeled had turned pink overnight! We wondered if this meant the Willow dye would be pink? In the meantime the children drew around shapes on white cotton cloth, wrote their name inside the shape and cut it out with scissors. The following day the dyes were ready for use and we got to test our colour predictions.
This mini-project introduced the subject of dyeing, giving the children the opportunity to explain their own knowledge and understanding, and ask appropriate questions of others (PSED1), use talk to organise, sequence and clarify thinking, ideas, and events, question why things happen, how things work and give explanations (CAL3, UW2). They looked closely at similarities, differences and change (UW2) and were able to extend their learning and reflect (PSED2). It provided a real context for them to attempt to write their own names (L2). The drawing, writing and cutting (of the bark, leaves, and cloth) increased their control over one-handed tools (PD1) and encouraged; Persisting with activity when challenges occur. Showing a belief that more effort or a different approach will pay off. Bouncing back after difficulties (Characteristics of Effective Learning).